Exploring the Stars, London 66th Beaver Scouts, April 10th, 2018

Partly cloudy sky with hazy clouds greeted 23 visitors (12 children and 11 adults) from the London 66th Beaver Scouts for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, April 10th, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove made the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the “Constellations” activity, distributing 23 “Star Finder” planispheres, showing the visitors how to assemble them with adhesive tape, and demonstrating how to use them to locate constellations in the sky.

RASC London Centre was represented by Henry Leparskas and Bob Duff. Henry made ready the big 25.4cm refractor (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 258X) in the dome and directed it towards the planet Venus, visible in the telescope through hazy clouds in the bright early evening western sky. Henry also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the observation deck. Bob installed the 18mm Radian eyepiece (62X) in the 25.4cm Dobsonian and directed it towards the wind turbine on the Engineering building.

When the Beaver Scouts arrived in the dome, Henry advised them to look at Venus through the 25.4cm refractor to take advantage of the increasingly hazy, cloudy sky. Henry supervised at the top of the observing ladder and Bob assisted at the bottom as the Beaver Scouts and adults climbed up the steps to view Venus through the 25.4cm refractor (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 258X) in the dome. On the observation deck outside, Jeff supervised as the visitors viewed the wind turbine on the Engineering building though the 25.4cm Dobsonian (18mm Radian eyepiece, 62X).

Bob then gave a talk on some of the observatory’s history and technical aspects of the 25.4cm refractor. Bob explained how the Schmidt camera worked—demonstrating how the shutter opened and closed—as well as the Cassegrain reflector telescope piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor. He explained the difference between a refractor and reflector telescope—mentioning the 25.4cm Dobsonian reflector on the observation deck. Bob also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

The visitors were gone by around 8:15 p.m. after an enjoyable and informative evening learning about the constellations and viewing through the telescopes.